I’m going to take a short break from my ongoing reports on my new Vye S37 to write a bit about the mobile computing device that is getting the most attention right now. I’m referring to Apple’s MacBook Air ultra-portable, which was announced with quite a bit of fanfare during Steve Jobs’ annual keynote speech at the MacWorld Expo.
I’m certainly not a big Apple fan and the MacBook Air definitely wouldn’t fit my own personal needs (its footprint is way too big, for one thing), but I do think it looks like a reasonably decent device that should be a good fit for some users. It has received a fair amount of criticism from some quarters, but I think most of its shortcomings are just examples of the types of compromise that has to take place when portability is a primary focus for the device. Every such design has to require a fair amount of give and take. Some potential customers will not be able to get by with the compromises that Apple chose to make, but those same concerns will be less important to others.
The key issue with the MacBook Air is really one that is inherent to Apple’s computers in general: the Mac OS remains a closed platform inextricably tied to a single manufacturer’s hardware. Competition is one of the main things that makes the compromises on mobile PCs tolerable. As noted in my recent post outlining the factors that led to my decision to purchase my Vye S37, there were all kinds of factors that led to my rejection of other decent systems in favor of the one that most closely matched what I wanted. This was made possible by my preference for using an OS that woks on hardware from a wide variety of companies.